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July 24, 2013

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LOL, he talks about the 'juice', it makes you smile for no reason:) what else you want from Buddhism? leave the bag outside when you enter Buddha house :)

Susan:

Nirvana is just a functional synonym for the unconditioned absolute. Strangely we are this unconditioned absolute. The problem is when we try to locate it, it is no longer unconditioned. We are not looking profoundly enough; moreover, we are looking with an idea in mind which doesn't match unconditionality. I think the English expression "at one's wit's end" is where we have to be—I was there. I remember it so well in 1969. The wit's end is the most profound of profound searches. You have no idea you're even there. But then something happens - you remember! You enter. You know exactly who this grinning fellow is.

I think we need a little more about how Nirvana is "not...not not something that you achieve." Also, why would Westerners waste time "sitting on their arses in a Zen hall" if they didn't believe "there is an unconditioned reality behind the veil of the conditioned." (Simple masochism??) Is it because we simply use Zen as a way to appear to be doing something; something exotic to break the boredom? The main persistent irritant--for me at least--is because someone else sees something I can't see. Now of course--because of genetics, education and occupation--other people pay attention to things that I don't notice, but the idea that somewhere someone is perceiving a satisfying view of "ultimate reality" beyond all this nonsense: that's the temptation, and the motivation. (And, of course, just as I wrote this I thought: Well, there I go conceptualizing again!)

The first sentence of Aristotle's Metaphysics is this: "All men by nature have a desire to know." And I think this holds true in Zen as well, where being born as a human is considered the ideal position to gain enlightenment--the cosmological "goldilocks zone" where we are not too dull (animals) or suffering too much (ghosts and hellions) or enjoying ourselves too much (heavenly beings.)

Whatever Nirvana is or is not, and whether or not I achieve it (fat chance!!) spaced-out tranquilizer Zen holds no attraction any more than rosaries, venerating so-called funeral relics, pilgrimages, and repeating ad infinitum sexist Sutras. I stomached reciting the Medicine Buddha Sutra twice this season, and that was enough. My friend--who participates in everything Buddhist, but has a reflective mind--once asked about the perils of "hanging out with superstitious people" wondering if some of it "might eventually rub off on him." (I had no answer, but wondered, "Why the hell are you doing it then?" I'm not robing up & chanting & lighting incense!)

Methexis:

Nice stuff. Thanks so much! A fav of mine is this one:

Our art is dazzled blindness before the truth: the light on the grotesquely distorted face is true, but nothing else is. - Franz Kafka

Another Dharmic A-bomb by Kafka:

"Truth is indivisible, hence it cannot recognize itself; anyone who wants to recognize it has to be a lie."

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